Welch says White House undermining greenhouse gas emission limits

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(Host) Congressman Peter Welch says the White House is trying to undermine the state’s effort to control greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Welch serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee has been investigating the Bush Administration’s attempt to stop clean air rules put forward by California, Vermont and 10 other states.

The rules would cut greenhouse gases from new cars and light trucks by nearly 30 percent by 2016.

But before the rules go into effect, the Environmental Protection Agency has to grant California a waiver under the Clean Air Act.

Welch says emails and other documents unearthed by his committee show that the Bush Administration was orchestrating a lobbying campaign to block the EPA waiver.

(Welch) They have pursued aggressively a pro-carbon, pro-oil agenda. And they are interfering with the fair and objective consideration of the waiver request.

(Host) A federal judge in Vermont recently ruled against the auto industry. Judge William Sessions said Vermont has the right to follow California’s lead in setting the tough new clean air standards.

Welch said the ruling had an impact in Washington.

(Welch) Vermont and California and Vermont recently with the federal court decision has really given a jolt of energy to folks in Congress who are attempting to move ahead on higher mileage standards and climate change issues. The administration effort is trying to throw yet another obstacle in the path of moving toward to a cleaner environment.

(Host) According to Welch, the newly disclosed documents indicate that officials at the U-S Transportation Department quietly tried to undermine California’s waiver request.

The officials reached out to congressional offices and a number of governors to get them to oppose the waiver.

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